Bhagavad Gita 1.32 Explained: Arjuna’s Disillusionment with Power and Pleasure

न काङ्क्षे विजयं कृष्ण न च राज्यं सुखानि च।
किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा।।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 1.32

Na Kankshe Vijayam Krishna Na Cha Rajyam Sukhani Cha
Kim No Rajyena Govinda Kim Bhogair Jivitena Va

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.32

Ah my Lord! I crave not for victory, nor for the kingdom, nor for any pleasure. What were a kingdom or happiness or life to me,

English Translation of BG 1.32

This verse reveals Arjuna’s profound inner turmoil at the prospect of fighting his own kin. His heart, filled with compassion and the dread of causing suffering, leads him to question the very essence of conquest, power, and the fleeting nature of material joys.

Insights into BG 1.32: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

The Futility of Material Gains

Arjuna’s declaration to Krishna underscores a universal truth: the impermanence and ultimately unsatisfying nature of worldly achievements and pleasures. This moment serves as a poignant reminder that true fulfillment cannot be found in external victories or the accumulation of power and possessions. It invites us to reflect on what we truly seek in life and whether our pursuits align with our deepest values.

The Price of Peace

Arjuna’s reluctance to fight is not born of cowardice but of a deep moral and spiritual reckoning. He recognizes that the cost of victory in this battle would be the loss of lives dear to him, tearing the fabric of his family and community. This verse challenges us to consider the price of our ambitions and the sacrifices we are willing to make. It asks us to weigh the consequences of our actions on our inner peace and the well-being of those around us.

The Quest for Lasting Happiness

By questioning the value of a kingdom, pleasures, and even life itself when achieved at the expense of righteousness, Arjuna touches upon the Vedic quest for Ananda (bliss) that transcends material satisfaction. His dialogue with Krishna opens a path to understanding that lasting happiness is found in spiritual growth, ethical living, and the pursuit of Dharma (righteousness).

Surrender to Divine Will

In expressing his doubts and dilemmas to Krishna, Arjuna exemplifies the surrender to a higher wisdom that sees beyond the immediate to the eternal. This surrender is not a sign of weakness but a courageous openness to divine guidance, which ultimately leads to liberation from suffering and the realization of one’s true self.


Verse 1.32 of the Bhagavad Gita serves as a profound starting point for the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna, which delves into the nature of duty, the illusion of the self, and the path to spiritual enlightenment. Arjuna’s heartfelt questions lay the groundwork for Krishna’s teachings on living a life of purpose, aligned with the eternal truths of the universe. As we reflect on Arjuna’s reluctance to engage in a battle that promises empty victories, we are invited to explore the depths of our own desires and the true source of fulfillment and peace. This verse encourages us to seek beyond the transient, to find strength in righteousness, and to open ourselves to the divine guidance that leads to the highest good.